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Euganeo, si vera fides mémorantibus, augur
Impia concurrunt Pompeii et Cæsaris arma. Some modern critics have asserted, that the two poets have been guilty of a geographical mistake, as the river Timavus empties itself into the Adriatic Gulf near Trieste, about a hundred miles from Padua ; and that the Apopus is near Padua, and about the same distance from Timavus.
If, therefore, Antenor built a city where the river Timavus rushes into the sea, that city must have been situated at a great distance from where Padua now stands. The Paduan antiquarians, therefore, accuse Virgil, without scruple, of this blunder, that they may retain the Trojan prince as their ancestor. But those who have more regard for the character of Virgil than the antiquity of Padua, insist upon it, that the poet was in the right, and that the city which Antenor built, was upon the banks of Timavus, and exactly a hundred miles from modern Padua. As for Lucan, he is left in the lurch by both sides, though, in my poor opinion, we may naturally suppose, that one of the streams which run into Timavus was, at the time he wrote, called Aponus, which vindicates the poet, without weakening the relation between the Pao duans and Antenor.
The inhabitants of Padua themselves seem to have been a little afraid of trusting their claim entirely to classicaj authority ; for an old sarcophagus having been dug up in the year 1283, with an unintelligible inscription upon it, this was declared to be the tomb of Antenor, and was placed in one of the streets, and surrounded with a ballustrade ; and, to put the matter out of doubt, a Latin inscription assures the reader, that it contains the body of the renowned Antenor, who, having escaped from Troy, had drove the Euganei out of the country, and built this identical city of Padua.
Though the Paduans find that there are people ill-natured enough to assert, that this sarcophagus does not contain the bones of the illustrious Trojan, yet they can defy the malice of those cavillers to prove, that they belong to any other person ; upon which negative proof, joined to what has been mentioned above, they rest the merit of their pretensions.
After remaining a few days at Padua, we returned to the village of Doglio, where we had left our vessel. We stopped, and visited some of the villas on the banks of the Brenta. The apartments are gay and spacious, and must be delightful in summer ; but none of the Italian houses seem calculated for the winter, which, nevertheless, I am informed, is sometimes as 'severe in this country as in England.
Having embarked in our little vessel, we soon entered a canal, of about twenty-two Italian miles in length, which communicates with the Po, and we were drawn along, at a pretty good rate, by two horses. We passed last night in the vessel, as we shall this ; for there is no probability of our reaching Ferrara till to-morrow. The banks of this famous river are beautifully fertile. Finding that we could keep up with the vessel, we amused ourselves the greatest part of the day in walking. The pleasure we feel on this classical ground, and the interest we take in all the objects around, is not altogether derived from their own native beauties; a great part of it arises from the magic colouring of poetical description.
The accounts we have had lately of the king of Prussia's bad health, I suppose, are not true; or if they are, I have good hopes he will recover : I found them on the calm and serene aspect which Eridanus wears at present, which is not the case when the fate of any very great person is depending. You remember, what a rage he was in, and what a tumult he raised, immediately before the death of Julius Cæsar.
Proluit insano contorquens vortice sylvas
Dryden translates these lines,
Then rising in his might, the King of Floods
Bore houses, herds, and labouring binds away. Rising in his might is happy, but the rest is not so simple as the original, and much less expressive; there wants the insano contorquens vortice sylvas.
It is not surprising that the Po is so much celebrated by the Roman poets, since it is, unquestionably, the finest river in Italy.
Where every stream in heavenly numbers flows.
Gemina auratus taurino cornua yultu
In mare purpureum violentior influit amnis. And Mr. Addison, at the sight of this river, is inspired with a degree of enthusiasm, which does not always animate his poetry.
Fired with a thousand raptures, I survey,
Distributes wealth and plenty where he flows. Notwithstanding all that the Latin poets, and, in imitation of them, those of other nations, have sung of the Po, I am convinced that no river in the world has been so well sung as the Thames.-
Thou too great father of the British floods !
As thine, which visits Windsor's fam'd abodes. ,
for the pane
gyrists of the Po, I must call Denham in aid of my argument, and I hope you will have the taste and candour to acknowledge, that the following are, beyond comparison, the noblest lines that ever were written on a river,
My eye descending from the hill, surveys
Whose fame in thine, like lesser current, 's lost. You will suspect that I am hard pushed to make out a letter, when I send you such long quotations from the poets. This, however, is not my only reason. While we remain on the Po, rivors naturally become the subject of my letter. I asserted, that the Thames has been more sublimely sung than the favourite river of classical "au. thors, and I wished to lay some of my strongest proofs before you at once, to save you the trouble of turning to the originals.
We arrived here early this morning. The magnificent streets and number of fine buildings shew that this bas formerly been a rich and flourishing city. The present inhabitants, however, who are very few in proportion to the extent of the town, bear every mark of poverty.
The happiness of the subjects in a despotic government depends much more on the personal character of the sovereign, than in a free state ; and the subjects of little princes, who have but a small extent of territory, are more affected by the good and bad qualities of those princes, than the inhabitants of great and extensive empires. I had frequent opportunities of making this remark in Germany, where, without having seen the prince, or heard his character, one may often discover his dispositions and turn of mind, from examining into the circumstances and general situation of the people. When the prince is vain and luxurious, as he considers himself equal in rank, so he endeavours to vie in magnificence with more powerful sovereigns, and those attempts always terminate in the oppression and poverty of his subjects; but when the prince, on the other hand, is judicious, active, and benevolent, as the narrow limits of his territories make it easy for him to be acquainted with the real situation and true interest of his subjects, his good qualities operate more directly and effectually for their benefit, than if his dominions were more extensive, and he himself obliged to govern by the agency of ministers. .
The duchy of Ferrara was formerly governed by its own dukes, many of whom happened to be of the charace